Harrisonburg city officials said the explosion happened sometime around 8:30 a.m. at a shopping center. More than 70 firefighters responded to the scene.
In total, the explosion injured five people; three of whom were James Madison University students, the college confirmed. Two of the victims were airlifted to the hospital in serious condition. Another victim was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and another two were treated on scene for minor injuries.
James Madison University further clarifying in a news release that three of their students sustained minor injuries after being cut by flying glass.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam deployed state emergency personnel for additional support to what he called a 'gas explosion'; city officials have yet to categorize the explosion as gas-related.
My team and I are closely monitoring the situation in Harrisonburg after a gas explosion this morning.— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) October 17, 2020
First responders and firefighters are on the scene, and we have deployed state emergency personnel for additional support. Please avoid the area.
A manager of a barbershop that once stood in the area told ABC-affiliate WHSV that one of their employees noticed a strong smell of gas in the area on Saturday morning.
WHSV reported that it will likely be a few days before fire officials are able to determine the cause of the explosion.